Background: Helminths immunomodulate the host immune system by secreting proteins to create an inhibitory environment as a strategy for survival in the host. As a bystander effect, this balances the host immune system to reduce hypersensitivity to allergens or autoantigens. Based on this, helminth therapy has been used to treat some allergic or autoimmune diseases. As a tissue-dwelling helminth, Trichinella spiralis infection has been identified to have strong immunomodulatory effects; the effective components in the worm have not yet been identified.
Methods: The soluble extracts of T. spiralis adult worms and muscle larvae were used to treat airway inflammation before and after an ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitization/challenge in an OVA-induced asthma mouse model. The therapeutic effects were observed by measuring the level of inflammation in the lungs.
Results: The soluble products derived from T. spiralis parasites, especially from adult worms, were able to ameliorate OVA-induced airway inflammatory responses which were associated with reduced eosinophil infiltration, OVA-specific IgE, Th2 cytokine IL-4, and increased IL-10 and TGF-β. The stimulation of the Treg response may contribute to the alleviated allergic inflammation.
Conclusions: Trichinella spiralis worm extracts stimulate regulatory cytokines that are associated with reduced allergic airway inflammation. The identification of effective components in the adult worm extracts will be a crucial approach for developing a novel therapeutic for allergic and autoimmune diseases.
Keywords: Adult worm and larva extracts; Asthma; Immunomodulation; Trichinella spiralis.